Rousseff Says Brazil Must Stamp Out Corruption, Not Companies

Brazil must punish people without destroying companies, President Dilma Rousseff said in comments about the corruption scandal at state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

“We must know how to punish the crime, not harm the country or its economy,” she said today in Brasilia. “We must close our doors -- all our doors -- on corruption without shutting them on growth or progress and employment.”

Petrobras, as the oil company is known, is at the center of the country’s biggest corruption and money laundering scandal that has spread to the nation’s largest construction and engineering companies. An avalanche of kickback allegations from former company executives and contractors has prompted calls for Chief Executive Officer Maria das Gracas Foster and top managers to step down.

The company has said it is a “victim” in the case dubbed Car Wash by investigators. Foster has offered to resign and will remain in her job until Rousseff decides to replace her, she told reporters Dec. 17 in Rio de Janeiro.

The government is concerned the scandal will slow the pace of projects and hinder economic growth and job creation, Labor Minister Manoel Dias told reporters today.

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